For my deeds let God the Father be present and his mother
DOCTOR Right worshipful sovereigns, you will like to hear Of the assumption of the glorious mother Mary That St John, the evangelist, wrote and taught, as I lere In a book called the Apochrypha. Not to say contrary At fourteen years she conceived Christ in her body clear 5 And in her fifteenth year she bore the child, this avow dare I. She lived with that sweet son three and thirty years And after his death on earth, twelve years did she tarry. Now account me these years wisely And I say the age was of this maid Mary 10 When she was assumed above the hierarchy Three score years, as the scripture doth specify. The holy legends authorize this, truly. She lived in Jewry by the mount of Zion After the ascension of her son taking to her womanhood 15 All the holy places on earth that Christ dwelt in. Devoutly she visited them honouring the godhead. First to the place where Christ was christened called the river Jordan Where he fasted and was taken by malicious falsehood; Where he was buried and rose, victoriously, alone; 20 Where he ascended to heaven, God in his manhood. Thus was she occupied, I read. And much was in the temple praying. Now blessed might she be, we ought to be saying. How she was assumed here we shall be playing, 25 Praying you of audience, now see and take heed. HERALD Peace now your blabbering in the devil's name. What lousy bitches might you not see! Our worthy princes, lo, are gathered in fame That are of status in this land, men of high degree. 30 By their high wisdom they shall now maintain How all the land best governed may be. And of these bold preachers that our laws defame, They shall be slain as they say or be made to flee. Wherefore, in peace be ye 35 And harken unto them. Most still I will be For whatever boy does brag, him will I spill As a knave; with this crooked knife, him will I kill! Now listen to our princes all kneeling on your knees. BISHOP Now you princes! I, a priest of the law 40 Of this I demand a response. I ask here anon If there be any renegade among us, as far as you know, Or any that subverts the people with clever eloquence alone. If there be, we must set on them with awe, For they present our faith falsely; them fools have I found. 45 Such shall be bound up by the belts, until flies to them flow And tied up by the thumbs until the Devil make them groan. Our wrath will not wane Until such harlots are whipped with rigour Who gainsay our law and our scripture. 50 Now act, sir princes, with vigour In saving our laws. Now, tell on. FIRST PRINCE Sir, since we slew him, that called himself a king And said he was God's son, lord over all, Since his death, I have heard of no manner of rising. 55 But, lo, had he lived he would have had us in thrall. BISHOP Therefore, we were wise to quicken his ending. Whoever climbs too high, has a foul fall. SECOND PRINCE Yet of one thing I warned you at the beginning. His mother is living, Mary that men call. 60 Many people hold to her withall. Therefore we shall be reproved in pain If we suffer her to remain. Our laws she will make to nothing And much shame do us, she shall. 65 BISHOP Ah, sir, you be bold enough! Are you afraid of a wench What, do you believe that she will be us against? THIRD PRINCE Sir, there are others in the country that claim And preach that he is living, that we slew, they say. And if they be suffered thus, this will breed a stench. 70 For through their false speech, our laws they stain. Therefore, devise we now upon this bench What is best now to do them to attaint. We are but lost, if they do reign. BISHOP Why, let us see then. Tell me your intents. 75 FIRST PRINCE Let us imprison them until their might spent is. SECOND PRINCE Better to slay them with dents! THIRD PRINCE Nay best is to hang them with pain. BISHOP Nay sirs, not so, much better advice Have before you. For what after would tide 80 If we slew them is that the commons would rise And rather the devil slay them, than we should that abide. But be that silly wench dead, Mary that prize -- We shall burn her body and the ashes hide And do her all the indignity that we can devise 85 And then slay those disciples that walk so wide And their bodies divide. Hold ye not this to be best as is said? FIRST PRINCE With your wisdom, sir, we are well paid. BISHOP Then, you knights,I charge you be well arrayed. 90 And you tormentors advance the time That Mary is dead. And if she die the sooner, the devil smite off her head!
Now Mary is praying in the temple and saying
MARY Oh high wisdom, in your divine deity Your infinite love made for our salvation. 95 That it pleased you of my simpleness to take your humanity With due obedience, I offer you adoration. And glorious lord and son, if it please your benignity Do not be displeased with my devotion. I long to be in your presence joined with you in unity 100 With all my heart and my soul, by nature's swift action Under your domination. All creatures do trust in thee (Since you were born God and man of my body) How much more ought I, your mother, to be 105 Desirous of your presence who were our first formation. WISDOM (CHRIST) My sweet mother's prayer unto me does ascend. Her holy heart and her love is only on me. Wherefore angel, to her thou shall descend To tell her that she shall come to my eternity. 110 My abundant mercy, to her I extend Receiving her to joy, from earthly perplexity. And in token thereof, this palm now present Telling her to fear no manner of adversity. FIRST ANGEL By your might I descend to your mother in virginity. 115 SECOND ANGEL This message brings joy to the heavenly consistory.
Here the angel descends
FIRST ANGEL Hail excellent princess, Mary most pure, Hail radiant star, the sun is not so bright, Hail mother of mercy and maid most sure, The blessing that God gave Jacob upon you now is light. 120 MARY Now welcome bright bird, God's angel -- I am assured You be the messenger of the almighty, welcome to my hall. I beseech you, now tell me, upon your high nature What is the very name that your person is called. ANGEL What needs my lady my name to be desiring? 125 MARY Ah yes, gracious angel, indulge my requiring. ANGEL My name is great and marvellous, truly you telling. The high God, your son, awaits you in bliss. The third day hence, you shall be expiring And ascending to the presence where my God, your son, is. 130 MARY Mercy and gramercy God, now may I be saying, Thanking you, sweet angel, for this message, from bliss. ANGEL In token whereof, lady, I am here presenting A branch of a palm. From paradise comes this. Before your bier, God bids it be borne. 135 MARY Now thanks be to that lord for his mercy evermore. ANGEL Your meekness, your loveliness and your high lore Is most acceptable in the Trinity's sight. Your royal seat in heaven prepared is there. Now dispose you to die, your son wills it right. 140 MARY I obeyed the commandment of my God here before. But one thing I beseech that lord of his might That my brethren, the apostles, might be me before, To see me and I them ere I pass to that light. But they are so dispersed that I think it cannot be. 145 ANGEL Ah yes, lady, nothing is impossible to God, believe ye. For he that sent Habbacuc with meat to Babylon from Jewry Into the den of lions to Daniel the prophet By a hair of his head, lo, so mighty was he, See, the same mighty lord may make the apostles here meet 150 And therefore, be not cast down, lady in your holy mind. MARY No more I am, glorious angel and kind. Also, I beseech my son that I not see the fiend When out of the world I shall pass hence His horrible look would frighten me and offend. 155 There is nothing I fear but his dreadful presence. ANGEL He need not frighten you, empress so kind. Since by the fruit of your body defeated was his violence, That horrible serpent dare not come near your mind And your blossom shall be to him resistant 160 That he shall not pretend. Desire you ought else now by right? MARY Nothing but blessed be my God in his might ANGEL To you I recommend me, then, most excellent in sight, And with this again to God I ascend. 165
Here the angel ascends
MARY Now lord, thy sweet holy name with great love I bless To whom, at all times, all creation psalms singeth, That it pleased your mercy for me to bear you witness My simple soul, certainly, your name magnifieth. Now, holy maidens, the servants of God, as I guess 170 I shall pass from this world, as the angel certifieth. Therefore, to my simple habitation, I tell you now this, I purpose me to go, beseeching you attendeth And assiduously watch me by day and night. FIRST VIRGIN We shall, gracious lady, with all our might. 175 Shall you from us pass, sweet sun of succour Who are our singular solace, radiant with your light. Your painful absence shall cause us dolour. SECOND VIRGIN Most excellent princess in all virtue and delight All heaven and earth, lady, do you honour. 180 We shall watch and wake as our due and right Until the time that you pass to that high tower In splendour. MARY God thanks you and so do I. Now I will make me for this journey ready. 185 But I would God my brothers were here me by To bear my body that bore Jesus, our saviour.
Now St John the Evangelist suddenly appears before the door of Mary
JOHN Ah, marvellous God, great is thy might! Many wonders thou work according to thy will. In Ephesus I was preaching, in a far country's light, 190 And by a white cloud, I was rapt to this hill Where dwells Christ's mother, I see well in sight. Some marvellous message has come to that maid still. I will go salute that maid that in virtue is most bright And of my sudden coming, know what is the skill. 195
Now he will knock upon the door and while entering the house of Mary he will say to her
Hail Mother Mary, maiden perpetual. MARY Ah, welcome my John, with all my heart special, For joy of your presence my heart does extend. Think you not, John, how my child eternal, When he hung on the cross gave us this command. 200 Lo here is thy son, woman, so bad he me you call And you me mother, each other to defend. He gave you the governance then of my body terrestrial, One maiden to another as convenience would commend. And now that gracious lord has sent me you, son. 205 JOHN Ah, good fair lady, what is there to be done? Tell me the reason that I am hither sent. MARY Sweet son John, so will I anon. Our lord God sent to me an angel resplendent Who said that I should pass hence where three are in one. 210 Then I asked the angel to have you present. JOHN Ah, holy mother, shall you from us be gone? My brethren of this tiding sore will repent That you should be absent. Sore tribulation, lord, much thou us sendest 215 That our master and our comfort from us ascendest And now our Joy, thy mother, to take thou intendest. Then all our comfort is from us went. But what said the angel, mother, then to you more? MARY He brought me this palm from my son sure 220 Which I beseech you, as the angel me bad, That before my bier, by you, it be borne Singing my dirge devoutly and sad. And John, I have heard our foes wish me ill. JOHN Ah, good lady, if it please you, me tell. 225 MARY Secretly they ordain in their counsels fell When my soul is passed where God's wish is That my body be burned to assuage their ill will Because Jesus was born of me whom they slew with their fists. And therefore, I beseech you John, that you help me shall 230 And see to my burial, for in you my trust is. JOHN Fear you not, lady, for I shall with you dwell. Would God my brethren were here now and knew this.
Now suddenly all the apostles are gathered before the door astonished
PETER Ah, holy brethren, with grace be ye met here now. Lord God what means this sudden congregation. 235 Now sweet brother Paul, will you take this upon you And pray to God for us all that we may have revelation. PAUL Good brother, Peter, how should I pray here now That am the least and most unworthy of this congregation. I am not worthy to be called an apostle, truly I say to you 240 For as a mad man against holy church I made persecution. Nevertheless, by the grace of God, I am brought here too. PETER Ah, great is your humility, Brother Paul, evermore. PAUL The keys of heaven, Peter, God asked you to take You are a pillar of light and prince of us all. 245 It is most fitting that you this prayer make And I, though unworthy, pray with you I shall. PETER I take this upon me, Paul, for your sake. Now, almighty God that sittest above the cherubim in hall The sign of thy holy cross with our hands we make 250 Beseeching thy mercy may upon us fall And why we are thus here, if it please you, declare. JOHN Ah, holy brethren all welcome you are. Why you are met here I shall you declare. For Mary, God's mother, a message has been sent 255 That from this wretched world to bliss she shall fare And at her dying she desires to have us present. PETER Ah, brother John, we may sigh and care If it displease not God, what these tidings have meant. PAUL Forsooth we may be heavy evermore 260 That our mother and our comfort should be from us absent. But nevertheless, the will of God fulfilled must be. JOHN That is well said, Paul, but of this must know ye That none of you for her death show heavy speech, For anon by our enemies it should then noted be 265 That we were afraid of death and that is against what we teach. For we say all that believe in the Holy Trinity Should ever live and not die. This truly we preach. And if we make heaviness for her, then will it said be, "Lo, yon preachers, to die they are afraid full much." 270 And therefore, in God now be glad everyone. PETER We shall do as you tell us, holy brother John. Now, we beseech you let us see our mother Mary. JOHN Now in God's name, to her then let us be gone. She will be full glad to see this holy company. 275 PETER Hail mother and maiden. So was never none But only you most blessed, truly. PAUL Hail incomparable queen, God's holy throne. From you sprang salvation and all our glory. Hail solace of mankind and mender of our miss. 280 MARY Ah, with all my whole heart, you are welcome iwis. I beseech you now tell me of your sudden meeting. PETER In divers countries we preached of your son and his bliss Different clouds each of us were suddenly carrying. We were brought before your gate here iwis. 285 The cause why, no man could tell of our coming. MARY Now I thank God of his mercy! A high miracle is this. Now will I tell you the cause of my son's working. I desired his bodily presence to see. JOHN No wonder lady that thus so did ye. 290 MARY Then my son Jesus, of his high pity Sent me an angel and thus he said That the third night I should ascend to my son in deity. Then to have your presence, brethren, heartily I prayed, And thus, at my request, God hath sent you to me. 295 PETER Wise, gracious lady, we are right well paid. MARY Blessed brethren, I beseech you, then attend me. Now will I rest me in this bed that for me is arrayed. Watch carefully with your lamps and lights PAUL We shall, lady, ready everything for your death. 300 MARY Now soon shall you see what God's might is. My flesh begins to grow feeble by nature.
Now she will be suitably apparelled upon the bed
PETER Brothers, each of you a candle take by right And bring them in haste while our mother dost endure, And closely let us watch in this virgin's sight 305 That when our lord comes for his spouse so pure He may find us watching and ready with our lights For we know not the hour of his coming for sure And in purity all, look you be ready. MARY Ah sweet son Jesus, now mercy I cry 310 Over all sinners, let thy mercy be spread. GOD (CHRIST) The voice of my mother comes me full nigh. I descend to her from whom I took seed.
Now the lord will descend with the entire celestial host. Now they will sing upon instruments
MARY Ah welcome gracious lord, Jesus my son and God of mercy! An angel would have sufficed me, high king, at this need. 315 GOD In proper person, mother, I will be here ready With the heavenly choir your dirge to proceed. Veni tu electa mea et ponam in te thronum meum Quia concupiuit rex speciem tuam. MARY Paratum cor meum deus paratum cor meum 320 Cantabo et psalmum dicam domino. APOSTLES Hec est que nesciuit thorum in delictis Habebit requiem in respectu animarum sanctarum. MARY Beatam me dicent omnes generaciones Quia fecit michi magna qui potens est et sanctum nomen eius. 325 GOD Veni de libano sponsa mea veni Coronaberis MARY Ecce venio quia in capite libri scriptum est de me Vt facerem voluntatem tuam deus meus Quia exaltauit spiritus meus in deo salutari meo.
Now the soul of Mary will depart from her body and enter the bosom of God
GOD Now come my sweet soul, in cleanness most pure 330 And rest in my bosom brightest of may. All ye, my apostles, of this body take care. In the vale of Jehosaphat there find shall ye A grave new made for Mary's sepulchre. There bear the body with all your solemnity 335 And await me there for three days in future And I shall appear again to you to comfort your adversity. With this sweet soul now from you I ascend. PETER In our tribulation, lord, thou us defend. We have no comfort on earth but of thee alone. 340 Oh sweet soul of Mary, pray thy son us defend. Remember thy poor brothers when thou comest to thy throne. CHORUS OF MARTYRS Que est ista que assendit de deserto Deliciis affluens innixa super dilectum suum. ORDO OF ANGELS Ista est speciosa inter filias Jerusalem sicut vidisti eam 345 Plenam caritate et dilectione sic que in celum gaudens suscipitur Et a dextris filii in trono glorie collocatur.
Here the whole heavenly host will sing
FIRST VIRGIN Now sister, I beseech you, let us do our attendance And wash this glorious body that is here in our sight As is the use among us without any variance. 350 Now blessed be this person that bore the God of might. SECOND VIRGIN I am ready, sister, with all my whole allegiance To wash and worship this body that is so bright. All creatures thereto own obedience For in this body did the holy ghost alight. 355
And they kiss the body of Mary
JOHN Now holy brother Peter, I heartily you pray To bear this holy palm before this glorious body For you be the prince of the apostles and head of our faith Therefore, it seems best that you do this office, truly. PETER But sir, you slept on Christ's breast and sang celestially, 360 You are God's clean maid, without gainsay, This observance is most proper you to do, truly. Therefore take it upon you, brother, we pray, And I shall help to carry the bier. PAUL And I, Peter, with our brothers together, 365 This blessed body shall help to the ground. This holy corpse now take we up here Saying our observance with devout sound. PETER Exiit Israel de Egipto domus Jacob de populo barbaro. Alleluia. APOSTLES Facta est Judea sanctificacio eius Israel potestas eius. Alleluia. 370
Now they will carry the body towards the grave with their lights. Now the angels quietly sing in heaven Alleluia.
BISHOP Hark, sir princes, what noise is all this? The earth and the air is full of melody. I heard never before such a noise as now, iwis. Can you ought say what they signify? FIRST PRINCE I know not, by my God that of much might is. 375 Whoever they be, loudly they cry. I fear that there will be something amiss. It is good that privately, among us, we spy without. SECOND PRINCE Now have I lived these three score years But such a noise have I never heard ere. 380 My heart begins to tremble and quake for fear That there is some new sorrow sprung no doubt. THIRD PRINCE Yes, that there is, truly, I tell you. The prophet's mother, Mary, is dead. The disciples her bear in great array now 385 And make all this mirth in spite of our dread! BISHOP Fie on you lousy dogs! They were better away! Out harrow! The devil is in my head! You dunderheaded princes, fast you array Ere I make a vow to Mahound that your bodies be bled. 390 Now that queen is dead Your coward knights in plate And your tormenters, their power shall be great Fast, harlots, quicken your gate And bring me that cursed body instead 395 FIRST PRINCE Doubt you not, sir bishop, in pain of reproof We shall do shame to that body and to those preachers SECOND PRINCE Sir, I shall gain those chatterers and grimly them grieve. Those tainted traitors shall suffer, if my look on them lowers. THIRD PRINCE To hastle those harlots is my sure brief. 400 I shall snarl up those snivellers with right sharp shoves. BISHOP Hence, then, in the Devil's name and take me that thief And bring me that blessed body, even before these towers And her disciples ye slay. Hie you hence, harlots, at once! 405 The devil's boys will break your bones -- Go fetch me that body with your stones. Out harrow! my wits are away.
Here the princes descend with their ministers like raging men hitting their heads against stone walls
SECOND PRINCE What the devil! what does this mean? I hear their noise but I see right nought. 410 Alas, I have clean lost my post -- I am full of woe; mad is my thought. THIRD PRINCE I am so afraid I would fain flee, The Devil him speed that me hither brought! I run about such woe seizes me; 415 Running mad fear has me wrought To die care I nought! FIRST PRINCE Ah, cowards, upon you now fie! Are you afraid of a dead body? I shall stand thereto manfully 420 All that company fear I right nought.
Now insane (unsound) he jumps after the bier of Mary and hangs from it with his hand
Alas my body is full of pain! I am fastened sore to this bier. My hands are held fast both twain. Oh Peter, now pray thy God for me here. 425 In Caiphas' hall, when you were seen And Peter, of a maid, were accused there I helped you then, now help me again! That I were whole and out of my fear Some medicine grant me here. 430 PETER I may not attend to thee, sir, at this hour For I am occupied with this body of honour. But nevertheless, believe in Jesus Christ our saviour And that this was his mother that we bear on her bier. FIRST PRINCE I believe in Jesus man's salvation. 435 PETER In God's name, then, bow down and this body honour. FIRST PRINCE Now mercy, God, and gramercy of this salvation. In Jesus and his mother believe I ever sure. PETER Then take yon holy palm and go to thy nation And bid them believe in God if they will be pure. 440 And touch them with it both head and hand in this fashion And of their madness they shall be cured Or else in their pains endure. FIRST PRINCE Gramercy, holy father Peter. I shall do as you teach me here 445 With high repentance and heart most demure.
Now they carry the bier to the place of burial
PETER Now, holy brethren, this body let us take And with all the worship we may lay it in the grave Kissing it all at once for her son's sake. Now spread incense and we shall put her in this cave. 450
Now they place the body in the sepulchre, censing and singing
JOHN De terra plasmasti me et carne induisti me Redemptor meus domine resuscita me in novissimo die. Now God bless this body and we our song make.
Now they bless the body together "In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti"
The fruit that it bore our souls shall save. Now rest we us brethren in this plain break 455 Until from our God and our lord tidings we have Here must we be brave. PAUL So must we, John, as you say. Then bide we here and pray Beseeching him of comfort that best may, 460 Resting here about this grave.
Now the prince goes to his fellows with a palm
FIRST PRINCE You men that languish in this great infirmity Believe in Jesus Christ and you shall have health Through virtue of this holy palm that comes from the Trinity Your sickness shall be assuaged and you restored to wealth. 465 SECOND PRINCE I believe in Christ Jesus, God's son in unity And forsake my wicked idols that are false in their faith.
Here he touches the believers with the palm branch and they are healed
Ah, I thank thee, gracious lord and thy mother of pity. Now am I whole of my sickness and of my false belief. THIRD PRINCE What, harlot, forsake you our law? 470 SECOND PRINCE So I hold it best you do. THIRD PRINCE Hence from me! In the devil's name you go! I die! Out! Out harrow! The wild devils now to me draw! FIRST DEVIL Hark, Beelsebub and Belial, Sir Satan in the corner 475 We fetch our servant to this prison. Blow flames of fire to make him burn. Make ready against we come to this demon. SECOND DEVIL Fast for that harlot now let us run To cast him in this pit that is deep down. 480 He shall burn and boil and chill in our den. Go we now in the devil's name as fast as we can. Harrow! harrow! we come to town. FIRST DEVIL Drag we this harlot on high Into the pit of hell for to lie. 485 SECOND DEVIL Go now hell hounds you cry Sir Satan may hear our sound. GOD (CHRIST) Now angels and all this court celestial Unto earth now descend with me To raise the body of my mother terrestrial 490 And bring we it to the bliss of my deity Assent you here to know the unity. ANGELS Yea, for your high mercy, lord, all heaven makes melody.
Here he descends and comes to the disciples saying
GOD Peace be to you all my apostles so dear Behold me here your lord and your God most right. 495 PETER Ah, welcome Christ our comfort in thy manhood clear. Great marvellous God, much now is thy might. GOD What worship and grace seems to you here That I should do to this body Mary she hight. JOHN Lord, as thou rose from death and reign in thy empire, 500 So raise thou this body to thy bliss that is light To us seems this right. MICHAEL Yea, glorious God, lo the soul here ready now To this blessed body may it please you to release now Heaven and earth would think this the best now 505 Inasmuch as she bore you, God in your might.
Now the soul goes into the body of Mary
GOD Go then blessed soul to that body again. Arise now my dove, my neighbour and my sweet friend, Tabernacle of joy, vessel of life, in heaven's temple to reign. Ye shall share that bliss with me, mother, that has no end 510 For as you were clean on earth of all sins the stain So shall you reign in heaven, the cleanest of mind. MARY Ah endless worship be to you Jesus, releaser of pain. I and all earth may bless you, come of our kin. Lo, I am ready, with you for to wend. 515 GOD To heaven above mother, ascend then we In endless bliss for to be. MICHAEL Heaven and earth now enjoy may ye For God, through Mary, is made man's friend.
And now they will ascend into heaven the heaven singing in parts "Assumpta es Maria in celum"
GOD You to be worshipped mother it pleases the holy Trinity. 520 Therefore I crown you here in this kingdom of glory. Of all my chosen, thus shall you called be Queen of heaven and mother of mercy. MICHAEL Now blessed be your names we cry For this holy assumption. All heaven and earth maketh melody. 525 Deo Gracias
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